Monday Night Raw
1. Anger Management. Okay, we just have to go ahead and get this out of the way, because this stuff was easily all the best parts of Raw. The segments with Daniel Bryan and Kane in their anger management class were all perfectly detailed, from the doctor's son showing up with a goat mask, to everyone except Daniel Bryan scooting as far from Kane as possible, to Kane's abridged autobiography. After the segments had aired, both men had appearances during the live show: Bryan had a match with R-Truth (which mostly consisted of Truth thinking he was having a good time and Bryan losing his shit, because, dude, he's still in denial), and Kane went on to give the best performance ever seen on television. He came down to sit at commentary (which caused Josh Matthews to flee), put the headset on just as awkwardly as you'd imagine he should, and then proceeded to sit there and watch the match between Zack Ryder and David Otunga intently never saying a damn word while Michael Cole desperately tried to make conversation while standing around the side of the announce desk. When the match was over, Kane almost destroyed Ryder again, but ended up letting the kid go and killing Otunga instead. I tell you, I could not stop marking for the entire duration of this match. It's incredible how sometimes doing nothing is the greatest thing in the whole fucking world. Hell, I'm still marking just thinking about it.
2. Triple H's non-speech. So, this one was super frustrating. The big question about Triple H following SummerSlam was, "Is Trips going to retire now?" He sure seemed sad on his walk out of the arena that night, and he was apparently so depressed it took him two weeks to come out and address The Universe directly. So when he showed up, he says, "Let's cut right to the chase; everyone wants to know am I retiring?" And the answer was a resounding.... *shrug*. What. The. Fuck. No, no, no. We did not go through all that build-up for that match, Triple H career highlights, and Shawn Michaels being all fucking concerned for Trips to just go, "I 'unno, I guess I need to think about it." on us. If you don't know, don't fucking make a big damn speech in a live ring. Make a short little video interview with Cole or Matthews or Striker saying, "Look, I'm just not sure where I stand at the moment, and I gotta take some time to regroup before I can speak definitively on the subject." Three minutes, tops. You don't need to take up ten minutes of Raw airtime talking about how you didn't want to be Ric Flair (except that you did), building up a big-ass goodbye speech only to go, "Gee, guys, this is a tough one." No, fuck you. Now you don't get time to decide. You make a decision, and you make it right the fuck now. You owe us that much for that big fucking copout you gave us on Monday. Asshole.
3. Punk v. Lawler. GO! So, the whole "kicked in the back" thing was, in fact, saved for me this week and I'm back on the Punk train. Lawler demanded an apology from Punk, Punk came out and berated his entire Hall of Fame career, was generally sick at disgusted that he's been getting away with it for so long, and finally, challenged him to a fight. Lawler said he'd think about it (like that's an appropriate comeback), and then about halfway through the show, Punk tweeted that he'd give Lawler the first shot, and Lawler must've finally thought to himself, "Shit, sounds better than spending the rest of the night listening to Michael Cole trying to goad me into this." AJ made a poll, and The Universe decided that this match ought to be contested in a steel cage, which was perfectly fine with me. Punk beat the crap out of Lawler, busted himself open, and in a twist ending, the cage match ended in a submission when Punk got the Anaconda Vice on Lawler. After that, Punk locked them into the cage (to some VERY half-hearted protests from the officials), and tried once again to get Lawler to admit that he's the best in the world. When the King still wouldn't relent, he simply drove his knee into him over and over and over and over and over... until John Cena came out, demanded the cage be lifted, and slid in underneath to help. Oh, yeah, Cena v. Punk at Night of Champions is a thing. So, yeah.
1. Kayfabe. Hogan and Sting are totally a thing now. And when I say they're a thing, I don't necessarily mean that they're working closely together to run the show and try to figure out this Aces & 8s thing. When I say they're a thing, I mean, I'm pretty sure they're an item now. Seriously, I can't watch Sting and Hogan on the screen together without hearing everything they say as a homoerotic euphemism. Case in point: Hogan brought Daniels & Kazarian into his office to reprimand them for the whole Claire Lynch thing, and just before they came in, Sting cooed, "I better see some Hollywood!" in the most stereotypical gay tone he could possibly muster. Yes, I definitely think that Sting is the bottom in this scenario. In any case, I think this may wind up being my favorite pairing of TNA stars since Bully Ray was yelling "JUST FLEX!" at Scott Steiner.
2. Kayfabe. Come to think of it, everyone seems to be going so much more over the top with their acting lately, and it is a beautiful thing. It's a fun look back at when the stars of the show were a zombie, a space alien, and a voodoo priest, and everyone still totally bought it. Hogan is really good at being annoyed and saying "brother" a lot, Sting is really good at being totally insane. Daniels plays the "Who, me??" card so incredibly well, and Joseph Parks has that whole thing that he does that I can't quite find the words to describe down pat. I'm not really entirely sure what the purpose was for Sting saying "Kayfabe" to Parks this week. Maybe it's part of his character? He's so insane now that he's not sure if he's actually rooted in the World of Wrestling and so he has to remind himself? And the best part is that Parks just went with it. After spewing his legal jargon that nobody understood for a few seconds, he probably just thought that was Wrestling Slang for, "We're in this together, dude." Which, I suppose, you could say is true.
3. Kayf--MATCH OF THE WEEK! Yes, the match of the week this week undoubtedly goes to AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. I just watched it again, and DAMN it is every bit as good on the second go-round. There was a beautiful story in that match, and these guys told it like fucking Homer and Virgil reciting epic tales of heroism. Everything was there: The history, the awareness, the stakes. They reminded the audience that they've both been in this company working together for ages by being evenly matched. They showed their knowledge of the ring through numerous rope-breaks. They presented the stakes by continually going for submissions on one another, because they both NEEDED those points. Angle & Hardy both needed the points too, but I don't feel like they really made us get that through the ring psychology the way AJ & Joe did. A fantastic back-and-forth, plenty of close calls, and a finish that feels satisfying on all levels. And it was nice and clean, which of course it should be.
Friday Night Smackdown!
1. The Future of Divas. You know, I said a while back that I thought AJ was the future of the Divas division, but lately, I've had to shift that moniker over to Kaitlyn. And it was nice this week to hear that kind of praise for the women coming from The Diva in Power, Eve. I don't know when I became an Eve fan, but I love watching her more every week. Like I said, this office role was custom-fit for her, and I like seeing her working to build the product and make it better. Kaitlyn had a match against Natalya this week, which, first of all, is brilliantly matched. Eve came out to do commentary, which was also pretty awesome, because she did exactly what you'd imagine is in the job description for Assistant to the General Manager: Build the Product, Build the Team, Build the Stars.
2. Another Rub? So on the 1000th episode of Raw, we saw Sandow interrupt and get squashed by DX... which only served to strengthen his position. After all, instead of simply being Our Savior, he is now Our Martyr. This week, Sheamus came out to say a few words on Triple H, but Sandow interrupted him. Booker T didn't waste TOO much time in booking them in a match, and we were all pretty excited around here. Sandow already has a match against the World Heavyweight Champion? Holy crap how incredible is that?? We weren't disappointed either, as Sandow was every bit as fierce and unrelenting as Sheamus in this matchup. It was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn't win, but what ended up happening was that halfway through, he apparently deemed it not worth his time, and left... which means Sheamus won by countout. Which means that Sandow can still say he has never been bested. Which is the best possible outcome for all parties involved.
3. Chaotic Neutral Kane is the Best Kane. I'm not stating this as any surprise to anyone, surely. Kane has always been pretty entertaining as the chaotic evil demon that destroys good people, but Chaotic Neutral Kane (and I will call him that from now on) is pure GENIUS. He wants to continue to hurt people, because that's who he is, so he goes to anger management so he can keep his job that allows him to do that. However, he realizes he wants to do well in his class, so he tries to take the necessary steps. But this whole thing goes so far against everything that has been ingrained in him from a small child, that he does not know which way to turn. On Monday, he chokeslammed Otunga instead of Ryder, because anger management is breaking through to him. On Friday, he explains to Josh Matthews that as part of his program, he's been asked to apologize for basically murdering him, which he does, begrudgingly. But THEN, when he loses his Teddy Long-appointed match against Alberto Del Rio, he completely loses his shit because that's who he is and proceeds to murder Josh Matthews again. Mehe says there's only one acceptable ending here, and that's Kane picking up Josh and carrying him up the ramp to the back, all the while screaming, "I'M SORRY!!" I think it's a pretty good thought, since clearly this conflict will rage on for a while, probably at least until Daniel Bryan figures out that he's angry. Hell, maybe Kane will develop a split personality in the meantime, so you just really never know who he's going to destroy this week. I am down for ALL of these possibilities, just as long as Kane continues to be on my television twice a week.